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The Counterfeit Countess book cover

The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Woman Who Rescued Thousands of Poles During the Holocaust

Author Event
May 5, 2024 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET

Join the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center and American Inspiration for a program with professional historians and Holocaust experts Dr. Elizabeth White and Dr. Joanna Sliwa, discussing the astonishing story of Dr. Josephine Janina Mehlberg—a Jewish mathematician who saved thousands of lives in Nazi-occupied Poland by masquerading as a Polish aristocrat. Drawing on Mehlberg’s own unpublished memoir, supplemented with prodigious research, the authors have uncovered the full story of this remarkable woman in their book, The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Woman Who Rescued Thousands of Poles During the Holocaust.

Elizabeth White

Dr. Elizabeth “Barry” White recently retired from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she served as historian and as Research Director for the USHMM’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide. Prior to working for the USHMM, Barry spent a career at the US Department of Justice working on investigations and prosecutions of Nazi criminals and other human rights violators. She served as deputy director and chief historian of the Office of Special Investigations and as deputy chief and chief historian of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia.

Joanna Sliwa

Dr. Joanna Sliwa is a historian at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) in New York, where she also administers academic programs. She previously worked at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. She has taught Holocaust and Jewish history at Kean University and at Rutgers University and has served as a historical consultant and researcher, including for the PBS film In the Name of Their Mothers: The Story of Irena Sendler. Her first book, Jewish Childhood in Kraków: A Microhistory of the Holocaust won the 2020 Ernst Fraenkel Prize awarded by the Wiener Holocaust Library. She lives in Linden, New Jersey.

Co-sponsored by the American Inspiration Author Series and the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at American Ancestors